A series of public listening sessions will be held by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for hunters and stakeholders (landowners, game processors, taxidermists, guides and outfitters, etc.) at various locations across the state in August. The goal of the meetings is for the agency to share information with the public and to receive input regarding hunting seasons, which are now set every two years.

TWRA will present current major issues of interest and game harvest trends in each region, followed by table discussions including: Chronic wasting disease, wildlife management areas, and hunting regulations for deer, turkey, bear, elk, and small game. TWRA Chief of Wildlife Joe Benedict shared, “We too are hunters and anglers and enjoy interacting with sportsmen and women across the state. We look forward to these meetings to share information and hear their input.”

The meetings will be held on different dates at six locations across the state. Scheduled times are 6-8 p.m. Reservations are not necessary, but one can notify the TWRA of their plans to attend at the Events page at www.tnwildlife.org or go to www.facebook.com/pg/tnwildlife/events/?ref=page_internal.

The two East Tennessee meetings will be in: Tuesday, Aug. 6, at Cleveland State C.C. in the Johnson Building on Adkisson Dr.; and Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the TWRA Region IV Office, 3030 Wildlife Way in Morristown. The other meetings will be Aug. 12 in Nashville, Aug. 13 in Cookeville, Aug. 29 in Jackson and Aug. 30 in Bartlett.

PERSEID: The Perseid meteor shower is one of the best natural fireworks shows in the northern hemisphere, but this year its peak nights will be competing with a waxing full moon, washing out many of the smaller shooting stars. So, this year begin your viewing the week before the peak.

The Perseid climaxes each year on the nights of Aug. 11-12 and 12-13, building steadily the preceding three weeks and dropping off rapidly after Aug. 13. On a dark night expect to see 60 to 100 shooting stars per hour over the entire sky.

The best viewing times are after midnight, but any time after dark will do. Binoculars are not necessary. Find a dark sky and clear horizon far from city lights and get comfortable (lounge chair, snacks, insect repellant, etc.). It is a great time to go night fishing, too.

The Perseid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through the debris from the orbital path of the comet Swift-Tuttle, last seen in 1992 and anticipated again in 2126 ( 133-year cycle). The flight paths of the shooting stars will appear to originate in the constellation Perseus in the northwest, but they will occur all over the sky.

HUNTER EDUCATION: As the fall hunting seasons near, now is a good time for new hunters to get their hunter education certificates — that’s anyone born after 1968. You must go online to sign up for a hunter education class. at www.tnwildlife.org. Students must be at least nine years old to earn a certificate; they should bring a pencil and their Social Security number. Do not bring a gun.

Presently in this area there are classes scheduled to begin on Aug. 13 in Madisonville, Aug. 29 in Lenoir City and Aug. 24 in Seymour.

Other classes may be added at any time, so check often. For those persons without computer access, they are encouraged to visit a local library or call a TWRA regional office for further assistance. Region IV’s phone number is 800-332-0900.

Are you having trouble scheduling the time for a hunter education class? For many years there has been an online alternative with an online written exam and a required field day for live shooting; but, now there is an exemption to the field day for those 21 years or older. The following steps are required:

Complete the online class at www.huntercourse.com/usa/tennessee or at www.Hunter-Ed.com. These courses costs $29 and they are interactive, narrated, and offer daily (including weekend) live customer service via email or telephone. For those age 21 or older, complete the form provided for the field day exemption and mail, fax or email it with required documentation and payment to the address listed on the form. To request a form contact the Hunter Education Coordinator at 615-781-6538. Your certificate will arrive in three to five business days after submission.

Email wiest.tom@gmail.com to share your news with Tom Wiest.

Tom Wiest is a long time columnist on all matters outdoors. He welcomes news, questions and comments from readers.

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